Category Archives:
Middle East

‘Democracy’ and ‘terrorism’ and the parameters of thinkable thought

Thomas S. Harrington on
Freedom fighters: Nelson Mandela greeted by Yasser Arafat in Gaza. Reuters photo.

As long as we accept the blithe use of terms like “terrorist” to refer to Palestinians fighting for basic dignity or accept the matter-of-fact description of Israel as a “democracy”, we lose the game. Those terms have been carefully designed to leave no room for a true dialogue of ideas. We need to stop expending our energies on arguments within their parameters of thinkable thought.

The Palestine-Israel language trap

Avigail Abarbanel on
Mahmoud Zawahra, from Oxford Palestine Solidarity Campaign

By using words like ‘occupation’, ‘conflict’ and ‘peace’ we play within the rules and the traps that Israel has created for us, writes Avigail Abarbanel. The real issue is ‘settler colonialism’ (and Jewish exceptionalism tries to explain that away).

Druze Arabs in the occupied Golan Heights discuss borders, identity, colonialism and war

Aaron Cantú on
Mine fields containing thousands of land mines are strewn around the Golan Heights, limiting the movement of its growing Arab population. (Photo: Aaron Cantú)

Aaron Cantú visits Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights and interviews Wael Tarabieh, who led a cultural center that became a center of local support for the Syrian revolution in 2011, and Kamara Abu Saleh, who works at the anti-occupation human rights group Al-Marsad. They discuss the changing understandings of Druze identity in Israel and the impact of the Syrian civil war on the Golan Heights.

Boycott, from within and without

Jonathan Ofir on
Stav Shafir, Labor member of Knesset, faults the Israeli government for not opposing the BDS movement years ago

The United States applies pressure on countries all over the world, including sanctions on Iraq that killed 500,000 children. Yet any boycott of Israel is treated as terrorism or an inappropriate attempt to impose a solution from outside. Even some Israeli Jews are calling for boycott.

Canadian Greens back BDS

David Kattenburg on
Green Party of Canada logo

In a historic move, delegates at the Green Party of Canada’s national convention in Ottawa this past weekend adopted a policy resolution supporting the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The resolution places Canada’s Greens in frank opposition to the Canadian House of Commons, which voted overwhelmingly in February to condemn BDS, on the grounds that it “promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

Meet the Palestinian volunteers on the frontline of Europe’s refugee crisis

Michaela Whitton on
Humanity Crew team members accompany children for a swimming lesson on the Greek island of Lesbos. (Photo: Michaela Whitton)

Millions of refugees are fleeing war and risking their lives on unequipped boats to reach European shores. In response, volunteers from all of the world are offering their aid and support to the biggest global displacement crisis since the Second World War, and Palestinians are no exception. Michaela Whitton talks with members of Humanity Crew, a Palestinian-led humanitarian organization at the forefront of the crisis.

America’s iron fist in the Middle East

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini on
A Navy F-35B during a weapons test. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. global arms sales are booming and the Middle East is the primary destination. While Americans angst over gun violence in our cities and communities, it is the rest of the world that bears the true brunt of this American industry dedicated to the art of killing.

The magic rubber bullet theory

Philip Weiss on
Xray of Usaid Kadus's skull in 2010 in the Nablus hospital. Photo from Israeli army investigation file.

The Israeli army states that a commander wasn’t lying when he said he fired rubber bullets at Palestinian youths; but an x-ray clearly shows a bullet in the skull of one of the victims.

‘There is no other place in the world where Americans bear so much responsibility for what happens’ –Ehrenreich

Robert Herbst on
Ben Ehrenreich

Want to know what it means for any human being to live under occupation? In The Way to the Spring, Ben Ehrenreich gives an education that will sicken you, of “the almost infinitely complex system of control that Israel exercised over Palestinians throughout the West Bank,” and of the terrible losses it imposes on those who struggle to resist it.

Why Trump’s revolution succeeded, and Bernie’s fizzled

Philip Weiss on
Hillary Clinton publicizes her closeness to Benjamin Netanyahu in her latest anti-Trump ad

Trump’s nomination was amazing in that it demonstrated the power of ordinary people –surely many acting out of racist and nationalist resentment — to upend a party leadership. Bernie Sanders failed in the same endeavor. One reason was that he did not seize on the material available to him, the Democratic Party’s love affair with neoconservatism and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Jordan slams door on Gazans

Enas Fares Ghannam on
Welcome to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan --
Photo: We Are Not Numbers

“We regret to inform you that your application was not accepted.” This message has been received by almost every Palestinian from Gaza who has applied for what is called a “non-objection” letter from Jordan since last August. Such a letter is required before a Palestinian can cross into Jordan from the West Bank to fly out of Amman to other locations. With the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt closed most of the time, the Jordan route is about the only way for Gazans to travel out for university abroad and other opportunities.

An Unlikely AMEXIT: Pivoting away from the Middle East

Richard Falk on
U.S. Army Capt. Michael Riha, left, re-enlists Spc. Rodriguez on top of Ghar Mountain at Kabul Military Training Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 6, 2009. (Photo: US Department of Defense)

Richard Falk examines the argument for a U.S. disengagement from the Middle East: “Unfortunately, for America and the peoples throughout the Middle East the US seems incapable of extricating itself from yet another geopolitical quagmire that is partly responsible for generating extra-regional terrorism of the sort that has afflicted Europe in the last two years. And so although disengagement is a sensible course of action, it won’t happen for a long, long time, if at all. Unlike BREXIT, for AMEXIT, and geopolitics generally, there are no referenda offered the citizenry.”

‘To defend western freedom,’ U.S. must preserve Egyptian tyranny

(((James North))) on
Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Is there a connection between Israel and the fact that the U.S. continues to send billions of dollars of weapons and military aid to Egypt’s dictatorship? Of course there is, and even Michael Oren says that to defend western freedom, the US must support Middle East tyranny.

Hillary Clinton has a decision to make

Yakov Hirsch on
Hillary Clinton speaks at the AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C., March 21, 2016. Photo:  Saul Loeb/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton decided to embrace Elie Wiesel as a hero when people who support Palestinian rights pointed out his rank hypocrisy. And she has lots of pro-Israel company in doing so. But she should consider what violent ethnocentric friends she is embracing, and what their extremism is doing to Israel and Palestine.

Brooklyn Muslims mark July 4th protesting attack on teens leaving Ramadan prayers

Wilson Dizard on
(Photo: Wilson Dizard)

Over the July 4th weekend two sixteen year old Muslim boys in Brooklyn suffered a severe beating at the hands of an assailant who called one a “terrorist,” according to the victims. The New York Police have said that the incident was not a hate crime. This decision has disturbed some members of the area’s Muslim community, making them feel the police have overlooked their safety.

Netanyahu’s bloody incitement

Yakov Hirsch on
Netanyahu video showed bloodstained room of Hebron girl who was victim of Palestinian attack

Why is Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu showing us the bloodstained room of a settler girl who was murdered by a Palestinian? Because he has no answer to the political crisis of the occupation but to incite Israelis toward racial hatred — and to try to tell the world that Israelis facing Palestinians who have endured 50 years of occupation are the same as westerners confronting ISIS.

Israel should be deeply disturbed by the Brexit vote

Jonathan Cook on
Tony Benn

Israel should be deeply disturbed by the Brexit vote. he UK’s exit from the EU is further evidence of the unraveling of an old order from which Israel has long prospered. Distrust of the political class is growing by the day, and Israel is an issue on which US politicians are supremely vulnerable.

Netanyahu agonistes

Yakov Hirsch on
Netanyahu speaking to Congress

Netanyahu is alone. He has lost every world leader and his own security establishment and is reduced to the support of Jeffrey Goldberg, the lobby and neocon hacks in the US. The Israeli establishment will be able to remove Netanyahu politically in the next year or so and it will try and get a peace deal with the Palestinians. And you’d never know any of this from reading the New York Times.